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GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - 2012 Free Software Award Winners Announced (fsf.org)

jrepin writes: "Free Software Foundation president Richard M. Stallman announced the winners of the FSF's annual Free Software Awards at a ceremony held during the LibrePlanet 2013 conference. The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is given annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software. This year, it was given to Dr. Fernando Perez, the creator of IPython, a rich architecture for interactive computing. The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life. This award stresses the use of free software in the service of humanity. This year, the award went to OpenMRS, a free software medical record system for developing countries."
Power

Submission + - 'Energy Beet' Power is Coming to America

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Gosia Wonzniacka reports that farmers in Fresno County, California, supported by university experts and a $5 million state grant, are set to start construction of the nation's first commercial-scale bio-refinery to turn beets into biofuel with farmers saying the so-called 'energy beets' can deliver ethanol yields more than twice those of corn per acre because beets have a higher sugar content per ton than corn. "We're trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to shift our transportation fuels to a lower carbon content," says Robert Weisenmiller. "The beets have the potential to provide that." Europe already has more than a dozen such plants, so the bio-refinery would resurrect a crop that has nearly vanished. The birthplace of the sugar beet industry, California once grew over 330,000 acres of the gnarly root vegetable (PDF), with 11 sugar mills processing the beets but as sugar prices collapsed, the mills shut down. So what’s the difference between sugar beets and energy beets? To produce table sugar, producers are looking for sucrose, sucrose and more sucrose. Energy beets, on the other hand, contain multiple sugars, meaning sucrose as well as glucose, fructose and other minor sugars, called invert sugars. To create energy beet hybrids, plant breeders select for traits such as high sugar yield, not just sucrose production. America's first commercial energy beet bio-refinery will be capable of producing 40 million gallons of ethanol annually but the bio-refinery will also bring jobs and investment putting about 80 beet growers and 35,000 acres back into production. "This project is about rural development. It's about bringing a better tax base to this area and bringing jobs for the people," says farmer John Diener,"
Security

Submission + - 'HOMELAND' TO SCAN EMAILS, MONITOR WEB TRAFFIC (nbcnews.com)

helix2301 writes: "The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country's private, civilian-run infrastructure. As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks."

Submission + - White House petition for free software in schools (whitehouse.gov)

gQuigs writes: There are two days left for it to get 22,000 people. It's not the petition I would have written, but I think it's close enough.

"Each year our educational system wastes billions of dollars for the purchase and support of proprietary operating systems and application software in our schools. The software is rigid and inflexible, opaque in its design and mysterious to our children.

We advocate and propose the gradual replacement of privately owned software with restrictive licensing in favor of open source alternatives with GPL type licenses. In as much as possible we should have our students using software that complies with the definition of free software as defined by the Free Software Foundation.

The GNU/Linux operating system, underlying source code, tools and documentation are readily available to students already. Their use should be encouraged as the tools and code are available cost free."

Submission + - Using Nonsense Math to Trick Non-Math Majors (sjdm.org)

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: "Abstract from a paper titled "The Nonsense Math Effect," by Emmo Eriksson: Mathematics is a fundamental tool of research. Although potentially applicable in every discipline, the amount of training in mathematics that students typically receive varies greatly between different disciplines. In those disciplines where most researchers do not master mathematics, the use of mathematics may be held in too much awe. To demonstrate this I conducted an online experiment with 200 participants, all of which had experience of reading research reports and a postgraduate degree (in any subject). Participants were presented with the abstracts from two published papers (one in evolutionary anthropology and one in sociology). Based on these abstracts, participants were asked to judge the quality of the research. Either one or the other of the two abstracts was manipulated through the inclusion of an extra sentence taken from a completely unrelated paper and presenting an equation that made no sense in the context. The abstract that included the meaningless mathematics tended to be judged of higher quality. However, this "nonsense math effect" was not found among participants with degrees in mathematics, science, technology or medicine."
Politics

Submission + - Hosni Mubarak steps down. 1

An anonymous reader writes: BBC news reports that Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has stepped down and the Army council is taking temporary control.

Submission + - Nokia workers walk out in protest (geek.com) 2

Mr. McGibby writes: "After the announcement of the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft this morning workers voiced their concern with the deal by walking out of Nokia facilities. It is believed that as many as a thousand workers marched out today (or took the day off using flex time) so that the company would know that they don’t believe the partnership is in their best interest, even after CEO’ Stephen Elop’s startlingly frank “burning platform” memo earlier this week."

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